Raiders

Mike Mayock addresses speculation about Derek Carr's Raiders future

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USATSI

Mike Mayock addresses speculation about Derek Carr's Raiders future

As has been the case almost every offseason since he arrived in Oakland, Derek Carr has had to deal with widespread speculation about his future as the team's starting quarterback. 

With the Raiders leaving the East Bay for the bright lights of Las Vegas, many have wondered if head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock might look to make a splash at quarterback this offseason, either in free agency or the 2020 NFL Draft. 

Mayock addressed Carr's status Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, preaching his "evaluate everyone approach" while simultaneously lauding Carr. 

"The bottom line is this, I think everybody needs to understand at what level Derek Carr played last year, OK?" Mayock said. "The guy completed 70 percent of his passes. He had almost a three-to-one touchdown to interception ratio. I think we were No. 11 in the league in total yards, we were seventh in third-down conversions. We did a lot of really good things on offense last year. The disconnect was we didn't score a lot of points. You're 11th in yards, but you're 24 in points. There's an issue. 

"It's defense. It's special teams. It's not scoring in the red zone. It's not scoring in goal to go, OK? To me, those are the issues. Derek Carr played at a high level. I'm very happy with Derek Carr. What I've told everybody I've been in touch with since the day I took this job is we're going to evaluate every position, every year. And if we can get better, we will. Guys get tired of me saying that but that's really what I told Mark Davis before I took the job and that's my mantra."

Rumors have linked the Raiders to soon-to-be-free-agent quarterback Tom Brady. Brady, who will be 43 years old when the 2020 season begins, still has plenty of game left and would bring the pizzazz needed for Vegas' NFL franchise. While signing Brady might not make a lot of sense on the surface, if the Raiders were to agree to accelerate their rebuild to accommodate Brady's desire to win another Super Bowl before hanging it up, then the marriage could work

Mayock wasn't biting on the Brady questions Tuesday. 

"I don't make anything of any rumors," Mayock said. "All I can tell you about free agency -- because I'm not allowed to talk about any of them anyway -- is I have watched tape of just about every guy out there at every position. All that does is uphold what I am telling you that every position gets evaluated every year and if we can upgrade it we will."

Aside from the Brady rumors, the Raiders also have two first-round draft picks in a class with three stud signal-callers. While LSU's Joe Burrow will be off the board at No. 1, Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert also have the desired skills to be franchise signal-callers. The Raiders would have to trade up to select one of them, though, and that's something they should avoid based on the number of needs the team has. 

[RELATED: Why Raiders should look to Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

While Mayock and Gruden will look to evaluate and improve each position if they can, the smart money is on Carr taking the first snap in Las Vegas for the Raiders next season. 

He showed great improvement in Year 2 of Gruden's system, and if the Silver and Black can improve the receiving corps, then Carr should be in line to expand upon his success with Gruden next season. 

Damarious Randall, Raiders agree to terms after Eli Apple pact dissolves

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AP

Damarious Randall, Raiders agree to terms after Eli Apple pact dissolves

The Raiders fell into some unexpected salary-cap space Thursday when their deal with Eli Apple dissolved. They wasted no time putting it to use.

They kept the investment in the secondary, agreeing on terms of a contract with defensive back Damarious Randall on Thursday night. That news comes via ESPN’s Josina Anderson, who said Randall texted her directly with news of the deal.

The 27-year old played free safety his last two years with the Cleveland Browns and cornerback the previous three with the Green Bay Packers.

Randall could pair with Johnathan Abram at safety or play outside cornerback, if that’s what is required. The Raiders have needs at both spots.

Randall and Abram seem like an ideal mix at safety, though the Raiders desperately need a starting outside cornerback opposite Trayvon Mullen. That position could get filled with remaining funds in free agency or with one of two first-round NFL draft picks.

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The 27-year-old Randall’s a proven commodity, with 16 interceptions in five NFL seasons. He didn’t have a pick last year but had four in every season before that.

Randall was traded from Green Bay to Cleveland before the 2018 season and was solid in coverage with the Browns. He was awesome in 2018, with four interceptions, five passes defensed and he allowed just a 68.8 passer rating when targeted.

The Raiders' secondary is better with Randall than it would’ve been with Apple in the mix, so this should be considered a win for the Silver and Black after a strange and unexpected turn of events.

[RELATED: McKinney headlines top DB prospects for Raiders to target]

Las Vegas has three solid pieces of its secondary with Randall, Abram and Mullen. Lamarcus Joyner is expected to man the slot again in 2020, with just one more void left to fill.

The Raiders have upgraded several defensive positions, including some at every level of the unit. The team should be significantly better on that side of the ball, especially if they hit on a defensive player high in the draft.

Source: Eli Apple, Raiders don't finalize contract in free agency

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USATSI

Source: Eli Apple, Raiders don't finalize contract in free agency

The Raiders agreed in principle on terms of a one-year deal with Eli Apple last month. It was worth $6 million, bringing the former first-round pick into the Silver and Black’s defensive backfield.

A league source with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed the agreement on March 18, but the deal never came across the transaction wire as many other Raiders additions had. Turns out there was a good reason for that.

The deal was never finalized, and now it never will be. The pact has been dissolved, a league source confirmed Thursday, making Apple an unrestricted free agent once again. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news. An inabilty to get a physical was at issue, though it's uncertain at this time if a deadline was missed. 

The money earmarked for Apple is now Raiders' salary-cap space moving forward, leaving roughly $11 million remaining at this stage. The Silver and Black need $9.4 million to sign their draft picks as currently slotted, per Over the Cap.

Apple was set to be an option to start at outside cornerback opposite Travyon Mullen, thought he didn’t eliminate the team’s need at the position. The Raiders were expected to add one in the draft, quite possibly in the first round.

[RELATED: Why Nick Kwiatkoski thought Raiders were 'best fit' in NFL free agency]

That could certainly happen now, and as early as No. 12 overall, as the Silver and Black look for a plug-and-play option from the college ranks.

There are some veteran options on the market, including last year’s starter Daryl Worley. The Cincinnati Bengals cut Dre Kirkpatrick this week, and he knows Paul Guenther’s defense from their time together in Cincinnati. Logan Ryan, Aqib Talib and Prince Amukamara also remain on the open market.

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